Clock with QR-Code

Install the App


  1. Download the application from the app store and install it on your mobile device.
  2. Set your side onto the facade of the Municipal Galerie VS showing the clock or hang the clock (clock face with QR code) onto the wall, either in the form of the sculpture or the multiple (supplement for the newspaper Schwarzwälder Boten).
  3. Open the application, point the camera at the clock, read the time and wait for the cuckoo to come or tap the minute hand with your fingertip and keep turning to lure out the cuckoo at the desired time.


This application is part of the art project World's Largest Cuckoo Clock (Digital), which was realised as part of the exhibition "Digital is Better" by the Municipal Gallery Villingen-Schwenningen. The app allows access to the world's largest digital cuckoo clock, a sculpture by the artist Olsen. To use this app, you need the physical counterpart, which consists of a blank clock face with a QR code (see figure 1). The app can be used to view either one of the real cuckoo clocks or an image of the clock from the supplement of the newspaper Schwarzwälder Bote, which shows the QR code.

As soon as the augmented reality app is started, you can automatically read the current time on the cuckoo clock by holding the camera of your device in the direction of the clock face with the QR code. In addition, a cuckoo comes out every half and full hour just like on your old analogue cuckoo clock. Here, however, the cuckoo consists of video recordings of cuckoo clocks created by people from all over the world. These are shown correspondingly to the current time of day. If you like to turn the minute hand to lure out the cuckoo, you will get your money's worth here too, just give it a try.



As part of the exhibition "Digital is better", the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock (Digital) will be installed on the exterior façade of the Villingen-Schwenningen Municipal Gallery and advertised accordingly. In addition to social media hype, an entry in the Guinness Book of Records is also planned.

The work addresses the history of the clock industry of Schwenningen and the region and takes up one of its icons: the cuckoo clock and "the much talked about digital transformation" [1] in the region. The work opens a digital door to the global phenomenon of the cuckoo clock by bringing together a worldwide variety of cuckoo clocks in one place. Thus, the work is also oriented towards the parasitic capacities of the natural cuckoo, which lays its eggs in the nest of other birds - in this case, however, the eggs of others are laid in a digital nest.

Façade with clock and QR-Code
Figure 2: Façade with clock and QR-Code

In real space, the front of the pixelated cuckoo clock on the façade is empty (see figure 2). The time, the pendulum and the popular moment when the cuckoo appears on the half and full hour can only be viewed digitally via an augmented reality app. Looking through the app at the clock on the half and full hour, instead of the cuckoo a video of a cuckoo clock appears. The videos are from Youtube showing recordings of cuckoo clocks with cuckoo calls. The videos and the cuckoo clocks shown therein come from various parts of the world. They are sorted according to the time displayed in half-hour intervals and stored in a database from 1-24 o'clock. Correspondent to the current time at the moment of viewing, the respective video from the database is shown.

The largest cuckoo clocks
Figure 3: The largest cuckoo clocks

Thanks to this clock, the duel between Schonach and Triberg will come to an end. The clock will close the triangle (see Figure 3) between the "1st World's Largest Cuckoo Clock" [2] in Schonach and the "World's Largest Cuckoo Clock in the Black Forest" [3] at Uhrenpark Eble in Triberg, as well as Schwenningen, the "World's Largest Clock Town"[4] - all about 20km apart from each other.

The cuckoo clock came into being from tinkering in the dark winter months of the Black Forest and became a world-wide product for export. The fame and popularity gained through the export-hit has in turn contributed locally to the development of the above-mentioned "world's largest cuckoo clocks", which, thanks to the superlative, attract visitors from all over the world to capture digital memories of the Black Forest in the form of photos and videos (see figure 4). The world's largest variant developed here, in turn, also elicits visitors to make use of digital means, but in this case passers-by pull out their mobile phones in order to be able to see and hear the time and the cuckoo at all.

12 o'clock in Triberg
Figure 4: 12 o'clock in Triberg

Digitisation is often cited as a driver of innovation and progress for the region in order to overtake the analogue — representative for slowness — among other things. Digitalisation thus also functions as a superlative, namely that of the maximum conceivable technical progress at present, helping the region to position itself among the frontrunners worldwide.

Thanks to digitalisation and size, the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock (Digital) has now moved directly into the "pole position": on the one hand, on the outer façade of the municipal gallery, where it confronts passers-by with a humorous mixture of its representation oscillating between analogue and digital. On the other hand, by posing the question whether the record suspicion attested here can be confirmed: can the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock (Digital) secure its position in the Guinness Book of Records thanks to its innovative format in the framework of the scheduled exhibition?

Olsen, St.Georgen im Schwarzwald, January 2021


[1] IHK Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg. Digitalisierung, 2020. Link
[2] Jürgen Dold. 1. Weltgrößte Kuckucksuhr in Schonach – Willkommen, 1980. Link
[3] ArtMedia Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. Die weltgrößte Kuckucksuhr im Schwarzwald | Schwarzwald Impressionen, 1995. Link
[4] Uhrenindustriemuseum Villingen-Schwenningen. (n.d.) Link


Dank an Alexander Hinzsch, Daniel 'Dan' Leguy-Madžar, Diedrich Frickel, Frank 'Fna' Müller-Pierstorff, Hansjörg Wintermantel, Hendrik 'Richi' Hähner, Irene Pérez Hernández, Pascal 'Kalle' Dinser, Peter Huber, Ron 'Royal' Widmer, Stefan Schumacher, Stephan Rößler.

With the support of:

© Olsen Wolf

World's Largest Cuckoo Clock (Digital)